Odd Jobs

By: RebekahWSD

Some people have a knack for finding strange things. Strange things always seem to find Zane Legends. Or strange jobs, as it might be. Given he was the only person with what the locals had called “An Eastern Education” he had been roped into the job of school teacher for the time being.

The small one room school house was...quaint, in a terrible rustic way he had decided. They had only one book, a book for him to teach out of that they had bought a year or two ago in the hopes that the teacher they had hired could use it.

Unfortunately, she had died of typhoid before she had ever gotten to the town. Or so the locals had told him when he had arrived. He had come to town with no real purpose, looking for some short term work. The locals had seemed positively gleeful when he had said that, urging him to take the job. The sheriff promised him free food and board for the job, as well as a small stipend, and well, when they showed him who made the free food, he couldn't refuse. She was by far the best cook he had seen on his travels through the west.

He should have known the job wouldn't be easy though. The kids had gotten lazy, and had no desire to learn when they could be out playing games, or working on a ranch for some extra money if their parents allowed it.

He hadn't expect such...a violent pupil though.

“For the last time, you can not just leave the classroom. And if you try again, I will use the switch on you,” Zane said with a sigh as he took a drink from the bottle of whiskey they had given him on his first day on the job.

“This is bullshit! I should be out tending to the cattle, not listening to your bullshit about this...mathematics or book learning or whatever you keep calling it!” the student cried out. He was one of the older students, a tall, willowy fellow with short black hair. Every day was a battle with him, if he even showed up. The sheriff would sometimes drag him into the school, since the sheriff had decided all students would get an education while a teacher was there, whether they liked it or not.

And Anthony most decidedly did not like it, at all. Normally he had managed to keep his anger to a simmer, and not disturb the other students, but somedays, he would have an outburst. Usually on days that involved mathematics. He seemed to loathe the subject with an undying passion. No matter how Zane had tried to explain how helpful it was, Anthony just ignored him.

“And how many cattle do you have?” Zane said finally, with a sigh. Anthony's eyes narrowed, frowning at Zane. The look of distrust was real.

“A couple dozen, why?” Anthony said, face still set into a glower.

“And what if you managed to get even more? Several hundred? And then you'd need more cowhands, right?” Zane said. Anthony frowned harder, nodding. “And you'd want to make damn sure you knew exactly how many cattle you had then. Because with that many, you'd want none of them to be stolen by your cowhands. And also you'd have to pay your cowhands. So you need to know how many you have, and how much you're paying them, so they can't cheat you and take extra wages. So maybe pay attention in maths so you can learn this.”

Anthony's frown grew even deeper before he howled in annoyance. “But I already KNOW maths. I don't need you fucking teaching it to me!”

Zane sighed, rubbing his head. “You already know maths?”

“YES, MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME. I'm not idiot!” Anthony said before dropping to sit down at his desk. The other students giggled nervously before looking down at their books.

“I have no idea why you're here at all then, Anthony,” he said with a sigh, sitting down at his desk as he finished the rest of the bottle. He had to hope the real teacher would come soon. He didn't know how much more he could deal with. “You know all the subtraction, and addition, and division then?”

Anthony refused to respond, glowering at him.

Zane sighed again. He'd talk to the sheriff tomorrow about why Anthony had to be in class if he already knew most of the stuff anyway. He was the oldest student too...maybe the sheriff just didn't like his family.

Maybe the sheriff didn't like how he ate all of the sheriff's mothers cooking...

Genre: Western
Setting: At a school
Character: Angry person